POLICY BRIEF: Cyber Policies Protecting Women and Children Online

POLICY BRIEF: Cyber Policies Protecting Women and Children Online

Through computers, smartphones and other online gadgets, women and children are spending more time online than ever before. This has increased with COVID-19 lockdown.The opportunities are limitless: education, marketing, social networking, and many more. But with these opportunities come serious risks: cyber stalking, trolling, hate speech, public shaming, doxing, cyber bullying, threats and
intimidation.

 

Several governments have set up legal frameworks and policies with attached penalties for persons using online platforms irresponsibly, abusively and unfairly. However, these do not explicitly address the challenges that women and children face while using the internet. Uganda had a population of 46.43 million in January 2021. Of these, 12.16 million are internet users as per January 2021 statistics. The number of internet users increased by 1.5 million (+14%) between 2020 and 2021. The internet penetration stood at 26.2% in January 2021.1 With increasing users, addressing this kind of violence is critical because the protection of these vulnerable groups has been at a low and real abuses of freedoms are increasing. This kind of intimidation undermines countrywide socioeconomic and political development. The victims tend to shy away from use of the internet; thereby, miss out on the opportunities presented.

 

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